A selection of songs from the Baring-Gould manuscripts

From this page you can get access to a selection of songs from the Baring-Gould collection. We do understand that people like to learn songs in various ways, so we have presented them in different formats. You can select the format you prefer from the menu on the left.

 'Sheet Music and Midis' will allow you to download sheet music for some of the songs from the Baring-Gould collection and to play the tunes as simple midi files. Midis are fine to give you an idea of how the notes work but they are very mechanical - demonstrating how much singers actually bend the rules of music when they perform a song. The rules for this selection are a bit vague - they include some of our favourites, some songs that people have asked us for as well as a few that make it just because they are interesting.

'Singing Women' is a selection of songs that Shan has put together based on her study of the songs that Baring-Gould and his collaborators collected from women in Devon and Cornwall. This collection is presented with one version provided in the way Shan has transcribed and arranged it for singing. In addition there is a document that gives all the variants that are found for that song in the Personal Copy manuscript.

'Sung Examples' is a collection of sound (mp3) files in which we have sung a couple of verses of a song so that you can get some idea of how it could sound. These are not commercial quality recordings - they are simply demonstrations of how the song could sound to help you towards your own performance. And you might do it completely differently!

'Song Studies' are a set of documents that collect all the variants of a song in the various Baring-Gould Manuscripts together to give a complete view of his record for a particular song and to see how that record changed through the succession of documents

'Childrens Songs' is another collection assembled by Shan from Baring-Gould's manuscripts. These are some of the children's songs found there, but our intention is not to appeal to children (though we hope they will enjoy the songs) but to provide some ammunition for singers and teachers and, particularly, for grandparents who want to share their love of English traditional song with their 'young people'.

 This will, we hope, be the part of the site where we will be adding more material as time goes by, so you might want to bookmark this page and come back occasionally to see what's new. I will give a summary of any updates on each page.

I should also issue a modest disclaimer. Working from manuscripts is not an exact science and, apart from the difficulty of reading words or music, mistakes do creep in. It is also important to remember that, when working from written folk tunes, there are a lot of choices to be made in phrasing and in the way a song is interpreted for singing. You are welcome to rely on our versions, but we strongly recommend that you check back to the original manuscripts if you wish to be sure that you are getting as close to the original performance as possible.

Last updated 6th Jan 2010